Garcetti was invited to the event--attended by nearly 800 people, most of them young and successful--after his campaign called to ask if he could speak, Latino Professional Network co-founder Alejandro Menchaca said. Menchaca said the organization wasn't endorsing anyone, but that he personally supported Garcetti.
"I think he's done a terrific job as D.A.," said Menchaca, a law student at USC, Garcetti's alma mater. Moreover, he said, "I think he's very cognizant of his Latino heritage, and makes it a point to outreach to the community. I've seen him at a number of events, whereas I haven't seen Cooley."
But Cooley has been out there too, and not just in the Latino community. Like Garcetti, he has spent years building relationships in ethnic communities, and is taking full advantage of those ties now.
Cooley has bonds to the Armenian American community dating to his days working for former Dist. Atty. Robert Philibosian, one of the group's most influential political activists, and campaigning for former Gov. George Deukmejian, who also has Armenian roots.